ENERGY STAR Certification Programs for Homes and Multifamily Buildings

The goal of the ENERGY STAR program is to help consumers, businesses, and developers in the building industry save money and reduce pollution from power plants burning fossil fuels. There are various funding incentives tied to the ENERGY STAR program including programs through HUD (Housing and Urban Development).

Although the ENERGY STAR label is well recognized on household products, this certification program is available for new homes and multifamily buildings as described below.

ENERGY STAR Certification for New Homes

Homes that are eligible to earn the ENERGY STAR label include single family, manufactured (factory-built) housing, and low-rise multifamily projects permitted prior to January 1, 2021. An ENERGY STAR certified home delivers estimated energy savings of at least 10% compared to most typical new homes built to code.

Part of the certification process includes being verified by an independent third-party Energy Rater to ensure the home meets or exceeds ENERGY STAR certification criteria. The certification also requires the completion of inspection checklists that include measures for the thermal enclosure system, water management systems, heating and cooling systems, and energy efficient lighting and appliances.

ENERGY STAR Certification for Multifamily High rise

ENERGY STAR certification is awarded to buildings that earn an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher (EPA’s 1-100 energy performance scale), indicating a performance efficiency among the top 25 percent of similar buildings across the United States. The ENERGY STAR performance scale accounts for differences in operating conditions, regional weather data, and other important considerations.

To be eligible, the building must meet the definition of an eligible property type according to the certification program. The certification process starts during the design phase by submitting the certification application that must be verified by a licensed Professional Engineer (PE) or Registered Architect (RA). The Certification is given on an annual basis, so a building must continually maintain its high performance to be certified year to year.

(California Assembly Bill 802 (“Energy efficiency”) requires that all non-residential and multi-family buildings with gross floor areas of 50,000 sq. ft. or more disclose their energy data utilizing EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Software.)

VCA Green offers ENERGY STAR consultation as well as other green building services. To learn more about program requirements and eligibility conditions, please contact Moe Fakih below for more information.

Moe Fakih, Principal

Contributing Writer: Celeste Meléndez, GBPC

Image source (, 2019)